If your frog has stopped moving, it can be a serious cause for concern, but it does not mean it’s a death sentence.
There are a few main reasons why your frog might not be moving and plenty of steps you can take to mitigate the problem.
Even still, it can be very distressing for both you and your frog if it’s been a while since your frog has moved.
A lack of movement in frogs is most commonly due to temperature variances in their environment. However, it can also be due to dietary issues, illness, or stress.
In this article, we’ll discuss these causes and what you can do to help your frog.
Five reasons why your frog might not be moving
First, let’s dive into some of the most common reasons why your frog may not be moving.
If the temperature in your frog’s tank is too hot or too cold, this can influence your frog’s behavior and movement.
At both ends of the spectrum, improper temperature can be a severe risk to your frog’s wellbeing.
Since frogs are cold-blooded, they need to obtain heat from their environment. A frog may slow down or stop moving altogether when it is too cold.
On the flip side, if it is too hot in your frog’s environment, this can significantly decrease the moisture in your frog’s skin, which can be harmful.
Hot and dry environments can prompt frogs to enter a state of estivation, which is a dormant state.
Similarly, colder temperatures can prompt frogs to enter a state of brumation, which is another dormant state that they typically enter in the winter months.
Both overfeeding and underfeeding can cause inactivity in frogs. When a frog is underfed, it may restrict activity in an attempt to conserve energy.
Even if your frog is getting regular meals, if these meals are not nutritious enough, your frog may be underfed.
On the other hand, an overfed frog may start to have trouble moving due to obesity.
Frogs need a consistent, nutritious diet that also includes periods without food. If your frog is constantly eating and has noticeably grown larger, it may be time to cut back on the snacks.
An Illness or Infection
Frogs can contract bacterial, fungal, viral, and parasitic infections.
Some common signs of an infection are changes in activity levels, appetite, skin color, and open sores or wounds.
A frog can get sick from another animal if they share the same tank or from elements present in their environment.
This is especially true if their tank isn’t regularly cleaned. Old, dirty substrate can lead to illness and stale, stagnant water.
Some frogs go into a state of shock when transferred to a new environment. If your frog has been newly introduced to its tank, stress could be the cause of its lack of movement.
If this is the case, your frog should start moving around within the next few hours or within a day or so.
A lack of movement due to shock should resolve on its own as long as the terrarium environment is suited to your frog’s needs.
When you have the correct temperature, humidity, substrate, water, and amount of space, your frog will feel comforted instead of stressed out.
If the tank isn’t properly suited to your frog, this could cause stress and inactivity, especially if your frog has been in the tank for weeks or more.
Environmental-related stress will not resolve on its own.
Frog’s Natural Behavior
Frogs are nocturnal creatures, so if you are primarily observing your frog during the day, it could just be that your frog is active later on when you aren’t watching.
Frogs are naturally less active during the day, so your frog might just be engaging in its natural activity or lack thereof.
To test this, observe your frog during the evening hours and try a few different times.
You can also check if anything has been moved or disturbed in the tank. Your frog might have got up and later returned to the same spot.
How to determine if your frog is okay even if it’s not moving?
To determine if your frog is okay, you can check its vitals even if it hasn’t moved in a while.
Check for breathing
First, check for signs of breathing. A frog that is completely submerged in water will absorb oxygen through its skin, but frogs that are out of water will breathe through their nostrils and lungs.
Frogs do not have a diaphragm, so their chests do not expand when they breathe. Instead, frogs draw air into their lungs by lowering the bottom of their mouths and expanding their throats.
They breathe air in and out through their nostrils. Examine your frog’s nostrils, mouth, and throat to check for signs of breathing.
Check on its appetite
Once you know your frog is breathing, reflect on its appetite over the past 2 weeks.
See if you can pinpoint the last time your frog ate. If it hasn’t been more than a few days, that is a good sign.
You can try to tempt your frog into moving by offering food. See how your frog responds and if it shows any interest at all.
Check for signs of illness
Next, check your frog’s body for any changes in skin color or open sores. If your frog shows any signs of illness, it will need to be treated ASAP.
If your frog is ill, this is likely the cause of its inactivity. If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned your frog’s environment, take some time to clean it right away.
Just by cleaning the tank, you might be able to improve your frog’s activity levels.
If you do need to clean your tank, do it calmly and quietly so that you don’t create additional stress for your frog.
Is it a good idea to stimulate my frog to move?
If your frog is not moving due to stress, the obvious answer is not to disturb it further for the time being.
Sometimes, a frog can be stimulated to be prompted to move. This is especially true if some sort of bodily discomfort is what is keeping it still.
Provide a bath soak
One way to stimulate your frog to move is to soak it in a tepid bath.
To do this, you will need to use dechlorinated, filtered water at room temperature or lukewarm. Fill a container with the water so that the water won’t go higher than your frog’s throat.
Then, carefully place your frog in the bath and let it soak for 15-30 minutes. Some frogs will embrace the bath, but others may thrash about and grow more stressed out.
See how your frog reacts. If it doesn’t seem to mind the bath, try it again the next day. However, if the bath stresses out your frog, it is probably best to leave it in its tank instead.
What to do if my frog doesn’t move for more than a day?
If it’s been more than a day since your frog has last moved, don’t panic just yet.
Adjust temperature and humidity as needed
Double-check the temperature and humidity of the tank. Adjustments to these factors can bring your frog around within another day or so.
Some frogs need different tank temperatures during different times of the day.
To see if temperature variances may be affecting your frog’s activity, check on your thermometer throughout the day and night.
Make sure temperatures stay stable or adjust to where you want them.
If your tank is near a window or a vent, you should consider moving it.
A drafty window or a vent that blasts AC or heat can each cause unhealthy disturbances in the temperature of your frog’s environment.
Offer your frog a nutritious snack
Check the nutrient content of the foods you are feeding your frog to ensure that you provide the sustenance needed to be healthy.
If your frog seems to be underfed, try to offer it foods that have a high-fat content, like waxworms. By offering food, you may be able to tempt your frog into moving.
Active prey can prompt your frog’s natural instincts to kick in and spark some movement.
If your frog is not interested in the food at all, it could be a sign of illness. In that case, you may need to medicate your frog.
Clean or adjust your frog’s environment
Take the time to carefully clean your frog’s tank and offer fresh water.
If the root cause is related to more than just the cleanliness of the terrarium, you may need to make some more substantive adjustments.
This includes possibly changing the tank size, substrate, type or amount of water, or lighting you are providing.
If there are other species in the tank, they could also be a source of stress. You may need to separate the animals if this is the case.
Talk to a specialist
It is always a good rule of thumb to talk to a knowledgeable individual at a pet store or a veterinarian who treats frogs.
Once you have a clearer idea of the problem, you will be able to begin treating your frog appropriately.
You can use the process of elimination to help determine the most likely cause of your frog’s inactivity.
If the cause is environmental, dietary, or due to stress, you should be able to resolve the problem on your own by making the appropriate adjustments.
In the case of an illness or some sort of infection, you will need to seek out a diagnosis and a treatment plan.
Many illnesses will clear up with appropriate treatment without any lasting damage to your frog. Sometimes severe illness can cause lasting issues, however, especially if they are not treated right away.
Don’t wait to take action. Figure out the most likely cause of the inactivity as soon as you can, and seek advice from experts in the field if treatment is needed.